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Frank W. Nelte

July 2013

CHRONOLOGY BACK TO ADAM

It is possible to establish a reasonably accurate chronology all the way back to Adam. This is possible because the Bible has preserved certain genealogical records as well as the length of specific periods that cover very significant times in the history of the nation of Israel. Specifically, those periods of time bridge the time from Abraham all the way down to King Solomon. So the way to establish the date for Adam’s creation reasonably accurately (i.e. within 5 years or less) is as follows:

1) The Bible has carefully recorded all the years from Adam to the start of the flood. This is recorded in Genesis 5. Genesis 7:6 tells us that Noah was 600 years old when the flood started.

From Adam - start of the flood = 1656 years

Length of the flood = 1 year

2) After the flood the biblical record goes down to Abraham. Arphaxad was born 2 years after the flood. The relevant information is recorded in Genesis 11. Terah died in Haran at age 205 years. After his father Terah had died at age 205 years, Abraham left Haran at age 75 years (Genesis 12:4). So Terah was 130 years old when Abraham was born.

All the years from the end of the flood up to the 99th year of Abraham are:

2+35+30+34+30+32+30+29+205 (for Terah when Abraham was 75) + 24 (to bring Abraham to age 99) = 451 years

3) From Abraham’s 99th year to the Exodus = 430 years (Exodus 12:40)

4) From the Exodus to the 4th year of Solomon = 480 years (1 Kings 6:1)

5) From the 4th year of Solomon’s reign to death of Solomon = 36 years

6) From the start of the reign of Rehoboam of Judah to the fall of Jerusalem in the 11th year of Zedekiah = to be calculated below

7) Jerusalem fell in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Jeremiah 52:12-13).

8) The Babylonian New Moon Tables accurately record over 8600 consecutive new moons at Babylon. They accurately cover the years 626 B.C. up to 75 A.D., which was after the second destruction of Jerusalem, this time by the Romans. These Babylonian New Moon Tables are also compatible with new moons at Jerusalem for those same years (occasionally a 1-day difference). These tables make clear that the 5th month of Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year was around July / August of 586 B.C.

9) From 586 B.C. (Fall of Jerusalem) up to 2013 A.D. = 2598 years

 

THE CHRONOLOGY OF JUDAH AFTER THE DEATH OF SOLOMON

1 KINGS 11:42 SOLOMON reigned OVER ALL ISRAEL = 40 years

1 KINGS 14:21 REHOBOAM reigned IN JERUSALEM = 17 years

1 KINGS 15:2 ABIJAM reigned IN JERUSALEM = 3 years

1 KINGS 15:10 ASA reigned IN JERUSALEM = 41 years

1 KINGS 22:42 JEHOSHAPHAT reigned IN JERUSALEM = 25 years

2 KINGS 8:17 JEHORAM reigned IN JERUSALEM = 8 years

2 KINGS 8:26 AHAZIAH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 1 year

2 KINGS 11:3 ATHALIAH usurped rule IN JERUSALEM = 6 years

2 KINGS 12:1 JEHOASH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 40 years

2 KINGS 14:2 AMAZIAH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 29 years

2 KINGS 15:2 AZARIAH (UZZIAH) reigned IN JERUSALEM = 52 years

2 KINGS 15:33 JOTHAM reigned IN JERUSALEM = 16 years

2 KINGS 16:2 AHAZ reigned IN JERUSALEM = 16 years

2 KINGS 18:2 HEZEKIAH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 29 years

2 KINGS 21:1 MANASSEH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 55 years

2 KINGS 21:19 AMON reigned IN JERUSALEM = 2 years

2 KINGS 22:1 JOSIAH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 31 years

2 KINGS 23:31 JEHOAHAZ reigned IN JERUSALEM = 3 MONTHS

2 KINGS 23:36 JEHOIAKIM reigned IN JERUSALEM = 11 years

2 KINGS 24:8 JEHOIACHIN reigned IN JERUSALEM = 3 MONTHS

2 KINGS 24:18 ZEDEKIAH reigned IN JERUSALEM = 11 years

JEREMIAH 52:12-13 that 11th year of Zedekiah was the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

SUMMARY: Every single one of the above rulers ruled from Jerusalem. The books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings were written well before the two books of Chronicles were written. All of the above references are taken from 1 Kings and 2 Kings, rather than bringing statements from 2 Chronicles into this. The verses I have quoted clearly state that these individuals reigned "in Jerusalem".

Now for the time from the START of the reign of Rehoboam to the end of the 11th year of Zedekiah when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, the periods in the above quoted verses add up to 393 years and 6 months. I think it is safe for us to ignore the two reigns of 3 months each, because neither of those two kings would have been accorded a full year in the overall chronology of the kings. So that leaves us with 393 years.

Now it is fairly certain that Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C., because the over 8600 consecutive new moon sightings that were meticulously recorded in Babylon cover the period from 626 B.C. right up to February of 76 A.D. There is no doubt that Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year ran from 586 - 585 B.C. The Jews still commemorate the 9th of Ab of the year as the day when the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, which observance is known as "Tisha Be’Av", i.e. the 9th of Ab.

(COMMENT: The Jewish sages reasoned that while the Bible says the 10th, the Babylonians surely set fire to the Temple on the 9th, and that fire continued to burn into the 10th day. That’s not what the Scriptures tell us, but that is how they reason themselves into taking note of the 9th day for this purpose, rather than the 10th day.)

SO WHEN WE ADD UP ALL THE YEARS FROM ADAM’S CREATION TO THIS PRESENT YEAR OF 2013 A.D., THEN WE HAVE:

1656 + 1 + 451 + 430 + 480 + 36 + 393 + 2598 = 6045 years

Now that figure is probably somewhat greater than it should be. So let’s look for potential problems in the data we have assembled. Where could there be problems?

 

AN EVALUATION OF THE DATA

1) The figure of 1656 years before the flood is correct and beyond question. The only way Moses was able to record this information in Genesis 5 is by direct revelation from God. So I don’t believe that this figure can be questioned.

2) The 1 year duration of the flood is also correct and beyond question.

3) The 451 years from after the flood up to the 99th year of Abraham are also correct and beyond question. This total is also based on information that God revealed to Moses, which Moses recorded in Genesis 11.

4) The 430 years from Abraham’s 99th year to the year of the Exodus are based on Exodus 12:40-41. "The selfsame day" that is referred to in verse 41 is a reference to the very day on which Abraham was circumcised and on which day God made the covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17, when Abraham was 99 years old. This figure is also correct.

5) The 480 years from the exodus to the 4th year of Solomon are also correct, being specifically identified in 1 Kings 6:1. Note that 1 Kings 6:1 bridges the chronologically extremely difficult period of the judges in Israel. It also skips over the reigns of both Saul and David. Without 1 Kings 6:1 it would be impossible to determine the date for the creation of Adam with any degree of accuracy, simply because on several occasions two men judged Israel simultaneously, but in different parts of the country. This is not always immediately clear from the biblical records.

The figure of 450 years for the judges that Paul mentioned in Acts 13:20 is incorrect (besides placing Adam’s creation another 100+ years earlier, and so theoretically completing the 6000 years another 100+ years earlier as well!) because it does not take into account that a number of judges judged Israel simultaneously in different parts of the country. Paul reached this figure of 450 years not by any appeals to Old Testament quotations or by an appeal to divine inspiration, but simply by adding up the periods for all the judges, assuming them to have been consecutive. But they were NOT all consecutive! This 450-year figure was a hangover of information from Paul’s days as a Pharisee, and it is in clear conflict with the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1.

I have no doubt that God specifically inspired this comment in 1 Kings 6:1 to be recorded in order to help us understand things in their proper time context, bridging an extremely difficult period of time from a chronological perspective.

6) The 36 years from Solomon’s 4th year to his death are also correct, since he reigned for exactly 40 years.

7) The 393 years from the start of Rehoboam’s reign to the destruction of Jerusalem in the 11th year of Zedekiah are quite possibly inflated by a few years. SO HERE IS WHERE WE NEED TO LOOK FOR POTENTIAL PROBLEMS!

Now in order to avoid some confusion we restricted ourselves to only looking at data in 1 Kings and in 2 Kings. Trying to introduce statements from 2 Chronicles would perhaps have complicated matters, because when Ezra wrote Chronicles, he did so from a completely different perspective than the one that is presented in 1 Kings and 2 Kings. And furthermore, we don’t really need any additional data for this period from other sources.

We also saw that every one of the verses regarding the number of years that a king reigned stated very clearly that he reigned "in Jerusalem". This is the best way to try to minimize contemporaneous rulerships from two different locations, something that was the case during the time of the judges, as I have just indicated.

Now the potential problems with this number of 393 years are as follows:

A) SOME of Jehoram’s 8 years of reign may perhaps have been contemporaneous with his father Jehoshaphat, as a co-regent. However many years that might have been, it would definitely have been less than 8 years, because Jehoram certainly outlived his father Jehoshaphat.

B) While Athaliah should never have ruled, there was no other ruler during the 6 years that she usurped the throne. So those 6 years must definitely be included in the overall chronology.

C) When Azariah (also called Uzziah) late in his reign became a leper, he lived in quarantine in a different house. Thus his son Jotham, who reigned for 16 years, may perhaps have started his 16-year reign before the death of his father Azariah. However long before the death of Azariah Jotham may have started his reign, it was definitely less than 16 years, because Jotham certainly outlived his father Azariah.

D) The 3-months reigns of both Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin can be eliminated as well. Those two short 3-months periods were quite likely included in the regal years of the kings before or after them.

Now don’t take this as meaning that we can look for "co-regencies" with every other king, because that is assuredly not the case. Co-regencies were the exception and not the rule! So we shouldn’t try to fabricate such co-regencies, just to fit in with our charts for the 6000-year period.

8) The 2598 years from the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. to this present year of 2013 A.D. are also correct. It is hard to flaw that data. These records are just too precise and too accurate to be flawed, simply because they are based on over 8600 consecutive visually observed new moon sightings spanning over 700 years being meticulously recorded. All of these new moon sightings are meticulously linked to the reigns of consecutive rulers of Babylon, the Medo-Persian Empire and then the Seleucid rulers.

Now could there be any errors in these years? For every 19 years there are exactly 235 new moons recorded in these tables, which agrees with the facts of astronomy. (The Jewish calendar calculations are also based on 19 years consisting of 235 new moons.) So these tables record the correct number of new moons for the entire 700-year period.

Thus for example:

1) From 626 B.C. - 605 B.C. = Babylonian king NABOPOLASSAR; 21 yrs.

2) From 604 B.C. - 562 B.C. = King NEBUCHADNEZZAR II; 43 yrs.

3) From 561 B.C. - 560 B.C. = King AMEL-MARDUK; 2 yrs.

4) From 559 B.C. - 556 B.C. = King NERGAL-SHAR-USUR; 4 yrs.

4) From 555 B.C. - 539 B.C. = King NABUNAID; 17 yrs.

BABYLON FELL TO THE MEDO-PERSIANS IN 539 B.C.

5) From 538 B.C. - 530 B.C. = Medo-Persian king CYRUS; 9 yrs.

6) From 529 B.C. - 522 B.C. = King CAMBYSES; 8 yrs.

7) From 521 B.C. - 486 B.C. = King DARIUS I; 36 yrs.

8) From 485 B.C. - 465 B.C. = King XERXES; 21 yrs.

9) From 464 B.C. - 424 B.C. = King ARTAXERXES I; 41 yrs., etc.

The point is this: The fall of Jerusalem in the 19th year of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar really can be dated accurately to 586 B.C., in the same way that the fall of Babylon can be accurately dated to 539 B.C. It is not really a mystery. And therefore the period from the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. up to this present year of 2013 A.D. can also be accurately determined.

SO HERE IS WHAT WE HAVE:

From our total of 6045 years we may perhaps be able to deduct less than 8 years for a possible co-regency for Jehoram with his father Jehoshaphat, and we may perhaps also be able to deduct less than 16 years for a possible co-regency for Jotham with his father Azariah, but we are really going to struggle to find even 25 years to deduct from that total of 6045 years, let alone 45 years!

AND JESUS CHRIST HAS NOT YET RETURNED!

So there are at least another 5 years or more to add to this total before the second coming of Jesus Christ will actually take place!

There is simply no way that we can claim that Adam was created "less than 6000 years ago"! That is simply not true! To believe that somehow 6000 years have not yet passed since God created Adam requires someone to deny all the facts to the contrary!

We are not arguing about the 6000 years having been exceeded by a year or two ... that was the potential argument we might have clung to back in the 1970's and the 1980's and early 1990's. TODAY we are well past the 6000-year mark by more than a decade or two! And what if 10 or more years still pass before the return of Jesus Christ ... will some people then still say that "6000 years have not yet been filled"? At what point will all people in God’s Church acknowledge that Adam was created more than 6000 years ago?

It’s not my fault! It’s not my doing. I’m just the messenger.

So when Jesus Christ said "those days shall be shortened" He could not have meant the overall 6000-year period from Adam to the second coming, because that period has clearly already exceeded the 6000-year mark. Jesus Christ must have meant a different period of time within that overall 6000-year period that would be shortened.

I believe that the explanation I have provided in my recently revised article "When Will Jesus Christ Return?" answers this question.

For people today, in the year 2013 A.D., to deny that there have already been more than 6000 years since God created Adam is to be willingly ignorant of the facts that happen to contradict our previously held convictions.

Frank W Nelte